Monday, 30 June 2008

More training

What does it mean when you get up early to train on Monday morning, decide at the last minute to double check your training program to see what’s in store for the usual Monday morning’s session and it says: Day Off.?? It means I haven’t read my program!! I usually can tell you what training I’ll be doing day by day for the next 2 weeks. Having the flu virus has meant I’ve not paid any attention over the last 10 days to my program, as just getting on the bike and riding has been an achievement/relief. So needless to say, I had a bit of a chuckle, jumped back into bed at 5.15am only to be berated by Mr Legs for not training!

Another pleasant weekend in the country

If I didn't have a crammed schedule to keep and a list of must-dos, then yes another relaxing weekend at the country residence!

Saturday started with being nurse-aid to my mare, then we headed off for a weekend in the wilds of the Strezleckis. Once we got there and unpacked the car it was straight on the bikes, over the regular training route. This was also a bit of a trial run for how I might cope with the LCCC handicap over the same course the next day. After clearing the extreme 180 degree left hand turn from Limonite Rd onto Grand Ridge (I reckon its about 20%, all 10 metres of it), I suffered a mini nose bleed. The only time my nose bleeds is if it gets whacked hard ie once in a lifetime. I stopped and waited up for Mr Legs. His comment: well what do you expect when you’re going out so freaking hard? HUH?? I felt slow and sluggish, my speeds were about average (what I would expect) and I had been thinking any racing was not going to happen for me. Funny how perception works; I didn’t think Mr Legs was that unfit! ;-P

Anyway, I felt ok, just not capable of sustained race pace. I pulled up well, and felt ok the next day for a repeat performance, a good sign that The Virus is on its way out. We had a hectic schedule on Sunday, so house duties took a priority over bike duties for the morning. I ended up mowing the front lawn while the race went by, 4 small groups. I actually pined a bit, giving Mr Legs plenty of opportunity to stir crap out of me. I managed another stint on the bike just before getting a load of hay and making it back to Melbourne in time to play vet nurse with the mare again, and stack the bales of hay before dark. It’s always hard leaving Boolarra – the quiet roads are a treat to ride on, plus easy access to decent hills, and some lovely scenery. I guess that’s the compromise of needing a decent job to pay the bills.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Week Wrap Up

This week has been one of those ones… a little bit out of wack. I feel like I’ve been running around like the proverbial, maybe because I have. All I can say is thank goodness for this flu bug, because a full training load would have just topped it off.

So, yes I am back on the bike, doing some lighter workouts on the trainer. Cardiovascularly I’m fine, but the muscles are still weak. Hopefully after the weekend I’ll be back to normal (whatever that is!!). Ergo tonight will also test the system out.

Work has been full on this week, with the first week of trimester (we have trimesters, not semesters like the rest of the uni) flat out. That’s pretty normal. But add to the mix a sick horse that was totally immobile for 48 hours (read: water carting, full hand feeding, twice a day visits) and it begins to get a little silly. Fortunately it’s just one mother of a hoof abscess, so now she is medicated (twice a day) and poulticed up (bandage changing every second day) until the heat and swelling goes, and the darn thing blows itself out (ie often through the bulb of the heel or the coronet band – top of the hoof – can be very messy). What this also meant is finding time during the day to go out and buy supplies and get to the mare during daylight hours to be able simply see what is going on. Thank goodness the winter solstice has passed!

So Hippy is now doing the Londres a Paris (today is Day 2, with cobbled sections). Day 1 he came in with the 1st group in a time of 5hrs 42 min. He’ll be really stoked with that. Me, I am one happy, proud coach. I am looking forward to seeing how he backs up today and tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the tough one, not only being Day 3, but also as the road tilts more dramatically upwards.

Monday, 23 June 2008

A Classic Winter Weekend in Melbourne

Grey, wet, cold, wet, grey.. and I still am bugged out with this virus. 5 days off the bike and I am getting cranky now, anxious from missing training, bored, fed up with feeling like a train wreck, not being able to walk 500m without feeling tired (well, that's an improvement really. Last week I couldn't walk 100m without needing a little lie down), blah blah blah.

Whilst I had an excellent excuse NOT to ride in the rain and get my powertap wet, I was a bit over it by yesterday. So I cleaned the bathroom (vacuuming is still definately out of the question). Watched a few dvds, lay around on the couch and kept the cat company, annoyed Mr Legs who thinks I am faking it, thought about what colours to pain the walls when it comes time. Rivetting.

Friday, 20 June 2008

All it takes is a little bug

Never underestimate the power of a virus.

I thought I was over this flu virus that visited on the weekend, but apparently not. After a few crap days early in the week, by Wednesday I was feeling pretty good and ready for an ergo session with Coach. I managed to get through all sets with little drama, but during the night, when I was fast asleep, I was run over several times by a very large truck. Within 10 minutes of getting out of bed yesterday morning, I was back in bed, and slept through the whole day. Today I am upright and functioning, just…..

So, no training for me for a few days to make 100% sure I am over this bug…and here I was last week feeling so superiorly healthy while Mr Legs was bedridden and full of the flu.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Monday, 16 June 2008

For those of us who missed it

Eastlink on video, as posted on flickr by a 65km Challenge ride participant. You'll get the idea.

The Weekend that Wasn't

I had some solid workouts planned for the weekend, but unfortunately, Mr Leg’s flu bug decided to jump ship and come a visiting. The upside is no head cold, just aches, pains, headache, sore eyes and overall fatigue. Fortunately today those symptoms seem to be on the wane. This is the second time this winter (in the last 5weeks) Mr Legs has had a nasty flu and I’ve just had a lesser, very short-lived variation. All those anti-oxidants are paying off!

Saturday was an hour in the Marty A Go Go shed. A small turn out meant some close supervision (read: bloody hard work!!!!!! My abs are still feeling it, particularly when I sneeze, cough or laugh - ooww!!)) so that by the end I was totally stuffed. I could barely manage 10 jump ups onto the box. (But I have to say, I think the flu bug was striking by then). That afternoon I struggled through 40km on the trainer, making hard work of what should have been a breeze. By dinner I was gone, so probably didn’t make rivetting company at the restaurant table!

Sunday morning, 5 am and I turn off the alarm, do a quick body check, realise I feel even crappier than the day before, roll over and go back to sleep. 8 am I do the same process. 11am I am feeling a less like road kill. It takes another hour to actually get the body functioning well enough to make it out of bed however. So there goes racing Eastlink, but from some of the stories I’ve heard, I’m not upset about it. The rest of my Sunday was spent eating leftover cake, and pottering around as my energy levels allowed. Thank goodness today is a rest day on the program, cos I’m needing it! Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be good for the bike and able to ease back into it, if for no other reason than to burn off all the birthday/caramel mud cake I've eaten!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Strength in Numbers

Looking at my data file from last night’s return to the Shed of Hellpain, I see I’ve hit my 2nd highest peak 20 min mean maximal power for this year. Highest was at the start of February and equalled at State Champs, with the 3rd highest (as of last night) a week after State Champs. Happy? Definitely. It was achieved during training, rather than race conditions, which means I was probably at 95% rather than 110% (I think I'll pay at Friday night's ergo for admitting that!!).

The other thing to note is that I was doing this level of work for this kind of effort (gear, time, cadence) at the end of my last SE ergo block in January/February (see above!), not the start. So I am starting back where I left off 6 months ago. It means, theoretically I’ve not lost much strength (if any) doing “other stuff” building up to Nationals, and in the 8 weeks of base work since. Currently I don’t feel particularly fresh (and my PMC clearly shows this) or strong, but obviously the strength work I am doing with Marty, plus on the bike, is paying off.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

And we think we train hard

Boy did I enjoy reading Anna Meares latest diary update and her prep for tomorrow night's qualify attempt. I had a chuckle of nasty glee when she mentioned spewing, hot and cold baths, not being able to walk and her gym workouts. Anna's PB on the deadlift is twice mine (which I did last night incidentally).

Anna's recovery has been a long hard slog, and her dedication to making it back in time to qualify for and medal at the Beijing Olympics is phenomenal - that's some mental toughness. I wish her all the very best. As we Aussies say: GoAnna!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Feeling Good

"Since yesterday I've had good sensations," says Valverde after winning the first stage of the Dauphine. Hopefully his good sensations are not the same as those of Boonen, who is looking to become cycling's latest Nahsty Boy/Causeless Rebel tm.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Big KMs, and some hills

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about riding 100+km for the first time in a couple of months. Funny thing is, I am about to do the same now.

Saturday, Mr Legs, Mr Univac and I rugged up against the heavy, wet fog and ventured up the big hill (Mt Dandenong) for a couple of hours of hill riding. The plan included Inverness Rd/Sheffield Rd, but with the moisture in the air and on the bitumen, and a slipping back wheel when out of the saddle, I decided to leave it for a less wet and slippery day. My bike is so filthy at the moment; the mud on the cable guide and the wet air meant that I was stuck in the small chain ring going up the 1:20. I couldn’t get it into the big ring at all – it just wasn’t budging! So I put the chain on the smallest cog I could manage on the back and rode 39 x 13 (81”) instead of 53 x 17 (84”). It was a steady ride, no PBs until Kent Rd, where I was pumping out 20kph at the top near Maroondah Highway and going strong (ie I ran out of road).

Sunday was a leisurely 110km Beach Rd ride. A meat and potatoes ride. I ran into Liv and Apryl being Rev Girls offering lollies to fellow lycra-clad types (including me) at Mordialloc. I’d rather be on the bike keeping warm, but it was great to catch up with them, as I’ve not seen them for quite some time (a change from every Wednesday night at DISC!). Liv has made into her Uni course of choice, after a year of studying straight Science, and is off to Everest Base Camp in a few weeks. Very exciting!

In the final 30km of riding, I was beginning to wonder if it was really truly necessary for a 2km pursuiter to ride 110km, but then remembered Baw Baw. Boy have I got a long way to go…. And to compare Kent Rd to the day before, try 14 kph and desperately looking for the top of the climb after 106km.

Empty Roads

Today is a public holiday, designated to celebrate the Queen’s birthday (which is actually on April 21) and sometimes, if I’m lucky, coincides with mine. Not this year - bad luck. However, in a trade off for time off work elsewhere in the year, my employer remains open for business today. The upside is that the drive in to work is a pleasure. There was much more traffic yesterday morning at 8 am riding down Springvale Rd than this morning at a similar time. Today, the road was almost empty. I had planned to ride in for this reason, but the BOM can’t decide how much rain is going to fall today, and when. Not being keen to do a 90 minute commute in the rain, I passed. The sleep in was worth it.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Warby Trail by Night

Last night was positively balmy, and tired of sitting on the trainer, I decided that a night ride on the Warby Rail Trail would be fun. Speeds were down due to some areas of low visibility (halogens lights are ok, but luxeons or leds would be better). Mr Legs hadn't charged his battery up, and ran out of quality light early on, meaning I had to hang back on pace to play "light the way" for the majority of the ride. Spotted one small possum, one guy hiding beside a tree (doing what I don't really want to know), the tail lights of one cyclist heading home, and a bunch of scouts at Mt Evelyn (is it Halloween already???).

I'm keen to do this ride again, but Mr Legs wasn't fussed (hint: he is really a grumpy fart) and I am reluctant to ride along the trail on a cold winter's night on my own. Might have to work on some other likely suspects...

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Racing knocks on my front door

I am currently working out when Mr Legs and I are going to head off to Boolarra this month, in between racing (Eastlink - still deciding), observing races (Shepparton Junior Tour), and training with Marty A Go Go. So, being the multitasker and opportunity maximiser that I am (ie I want to race!) I’ve been browsing the La Trobe City CC calendar, as Warragul shuts down racing until August. As luck would have it, they are actually racing past the front of my house at the end of the month, taking in 2 loops of my very regular Boolarra “quick cheats hill run”: quick and cheats because I literally start the loop at my front door, within 2 km of leaving home start climbing, and am never more than 25km from home. It’s a brilliant little loop that can be equally damaging in reverse, gives you good bang for your training time buck and one I am incredibly familiar with. So when the opportunity comes to race a handicap over it, am I so there! It’s not often you get to roll out the front door, pedal 500m to a race start, and pedal the same 500m back home afterwards. I'll roll 20km along the Morwell River for recovery afterwards, which will make it a nice little ride for a Sunday morning, and one I do every time I head back home.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Game On

Once upon a time, in a land far far away in an event organiser’s dreams, there existed a mighty hill, known to the mountain worshipping hordes as Baw Baw. Now this astute event organiser decided that it would be terrific fun to create a bicycle race that finished on the top of this monumental climb, so that spectators could delight in cyclists, delirious with exhaustion and hypothermia, falling from their machines as they dragged their sorry arses over the finish line.

To make matters more interesting, he thought it would be neat to start the race in the famous Gippsland town of Warragul, taking in the quaint, picturesque villages along the way to the top of the mastodonic hill. This resulted in a 100km of climbing slog, making the Baw Baw Classic, as it came to be known amongst the mountain worshipping hordes, one of the hardest one day cycling road races ever known to the human race, on Planet Earth, ever.

And so it came to pass, that a CSV Office Staffer and triathlete mistook an offhand joke from a CSV Board member and track cyclist, and told both coaches of both athletes her understanding of the joke. The triathlete’s coach then promptly phoned the track cyclist with the words: Game On, you pay for dinner after Baw Baw. So the track cyclist phoned her coach, and queried the feasibility of this misunderstanding. The track cyclist’s coach said it’s 6 months before World (Masters Track), that’s plenty of time to recover – I guess it is on. And I’ll have entrĂ©e as well thanks. O Dear said the track cyclist.

Thusly begins the battle between Mad Dog Miller and Endurogirl Maskill to reach the top of the behemoth Baw Baw first, and so making the other’s coach pay for dinner. (read that boys?? Coaches pay for dinner – it’s in the rule book). Game On April 2009. Stayed tuned.

Strategies for Quality Training

Some days you just can't be bothered (fortunately for me, today is not one of those days, although the heavy fog and freezing chill in the air this morning did make me change my mind about riding to work, but that's a different story!). Training sucks, the bike is no longer an extension of your body and a thing of beauty, your legs fight you the whole way. Mr Legs calls training on those days negative training, and he genuinely believes no gains in fitness can be made when training is like that.

I disagree, but sometimes those days can make or break you mentally. This morning this article came through my email inbox, which outlines some really simple (and common sense) techniques for helping lift training out of that ugly rut. I guess it really comes down to training each session with a defined purpose, even if it's only to clear the mind and muscles of built up gunk and residue from the previous day's work and training. Setting one small goal for each session gives you a target, and a sense of achievement, and everyone enjoys winning!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Of Fog and Leeches

Sunday was a long ride down Beach Rd with Mr Univac and Mr Legs. Mr Legs left before me, opting to start his ride from his folks’ place so he could finish there and do some work in their shed afterwards. As he left, I was still in bed, and he called out that it was foggy. Yeah so what? I thought… About 10 minutes after I left, I realised what he meant: not only was it foggy, it was very wet. Great! I was going to get rather damp and very cold.

The original forecast was for fog then sunshine, max of 16. Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen, with an official, achieved max of 13.7 shown on the nightly news. We had a reasonable roll down Springvale Rd into Mordialloc, pumping out a goodly speed once my legs had unstiffened and the blood start to flow. I was struggling a bit until I hammered out a small 500m sprint at Keysborough, which woke the legs up and gave our first leech of the day something to think about. After that the legs felt ok, I was on form, and the leech disappeared shortly after.

On Beach Rd, we quickly gathered 2 more leeches early on, who were not keen to do any work. After about 10km of giving these guys a tow, I blasted off the front, hoping Mr U and Mr L would come along, and to test the keenness and capacity of our 2 passengers. They stuck with us, keeping an impolite distance (ie too close but not close enough to be truly wheel sucking). I attacked a few more times up hill over the remainder of Beach Rd, and finally got rid of one just before Brighton, and the other just after. I broke away again, and Mr Legs towed him back up to me, at which point I very purposefully moved over right to let him through, and when he didn’t take the opportunity, I slammed on the brakes and forced him past. He finally got the message. I don’t mind if people come along for the ride, are competent and do some work. I won’t tolerate wheelsucking dayglo riders who are not so skilled, won’t work, and put myself and my little group at risk. At least they gave me an opportunity to test out my legs on a couple of the bumps on Beach Rd.

By the time we hit our regular refuel stop, my legs were beginning to suffer from the hill attacks, and it still hadn’t warmed up. I was dreaming of a very large latte, as opposed to my usual glass, and of a warm jacket and beanie. Once there, I had a quick warm up under the hand blower in the Ladies’. Over coffee, I was worried about smashing my legs further on the hills heading home, after yesterday’s efforts, and suggested taking the train part way home. Thankfully, I wasn’t laughed down. Mr Legs decided to finish his ride to Bulleen via the bike path, and Mr Univac and I caught the train to Ringwood. The fog still hadn’t lifted, and Ringwood felt colder at midday than it had at 8 am. At least it had dried out, which made the final 10km home pleasant enough. I‘ve never opted out of a long ride by taking the train home, but strangely, I felt no guilt taking 20km off the final tally this time! In fact, I’m glad I did, with the cold and muscle fatigue I was feeling. June 1 and I think I am over winter already.

Finally, a race finished, and in the places

Saturday morning was in the A Go Go shed once again, this time with Marty saying for each set, Lawrence, use these dumbbells, pointing to increasingly heavier and heavier weights. I knew I was going to be stiff and sore the next day – thanks Marty! We did a great workout though, with one circuit moving from lunges to squats to the bike repeat, no rest. Hey, if it works for Ben Kersten….

After the A Go Go session, it was in the car and off to Picnic Point (near Drouin West) to fulfil marshalling duties. Mr Legs and I got there early, so headed off for a recon lap, and a trip down memory lane going over The Wall: ie it still hurts! Who said it hurts the same, you just go faster?? The Wall is Sheffield Rd’s smaller twin – a bit longer but marginally (just!) less steep on the dial. After one lap, Mr Legs kindly decided that he wouldn’t race (thanks to The Wall) but would do my marshalling duties, freeing me to take up the racing mantle. After an hour with Marty, and a 1.2 km climb plus The Wall x 2, it was going to be interesting afternoon. My aim was to just finish this time.

There were 4 of us in C grade, with me the only woman. We stuck together as a group up the 1.2 km climb straight out of the start gates, were together for The Wall, but then very quickly broke up. Big Paul Kennedy and I led the charge up The Wall, and in the final 10 metres, as my speed washed off and back down the hill, I was overtaken by Richard Bridges (lived up to his name!). He and Paul then dug in over the top of the hill, while I slowly died, so that they got 30 or so metres on me. I tried to bridge across to them, keen for 2 big guys to tow me around the course, but it was not to be, and they finally broke away from me just before the turn onto Jacksons Track. I soloed for a few km, then Dave “Axman” Axford caught me (to my surprise) and we worked together to finish the 1st lap. As we hit the long climb again, Dave slid off my wheel, so rather than wait up, I swung into a good rhythm and rolled up the hill, then dragged myself over The Wall for the last time. I couldn’t see Dave behind me, so dug in and kept the pace on, hoping to keep him away for as long as possible, thinking he would eventually catch me again on the back straight. I wanted to make him work for that catch, and hopefully max out his credit card doing so. As it turned out, I lost sight of him altogether and as I hit the home straight, realised I had 3rd place in the bag, mechanicals notwithstanding.

So, finally I finish a road race, and actually gain a placing as well (so what for the small field, a place is a place ;-P). I’m pretty happy with that, mainly because I did it on the back of a very solid hour with Marty, proving to myself that I am getting stronger, and coping better with the shed workouts.